Pandemic Home Buying & Selling Trends – 2020


Buying and selling homes during the pandemic – evolving trends and key insights

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to the economy and businesses around the country, yet the housing market continues to boom. With stay-at-home orders requiring people to spend more time in their houses this year, needs have shifted and new trends are emerging as many re-evaluate what they find most important in a home.

This week, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® released the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, an annual survey of over 8,000 people who purchased or sold from July 2019 to June 2020, which showcases emerging trends and patterns for buyers and sellers and offers a new section this year that examines how the pandemic is affecting people’s attitudes and purchase and sales decisions.


“The coronavirus without a doubt led home buyers to reassess their housing situations and even reconsider home sizes and destinations,” says Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for NAR. “Buyers sought housing with more rooms, more square footage, and more yard space, as they may have desired a home office or home gym. They also shopped for larger homes because extra space would allow households to better accommodate older adult relatives or young adults that are now living within the residence.”


7 Trends Emerging Among Buyers Since the Pandemic

1. Multigenerational homes grow in popularity allowing more family members under one roof and the ability to pool multiple incomes together to purchase a larger home

2. Homes are pricier now than earlier in the year, nationally and locally here in Central Oregon, home prices have pushed record highs fueled by lack of inventory, low mortgage rates creating a high buyer pool, and desirability for homes based on evolving needs as a result of the pandemic

3. Shorter house tenures are expected, as buyers are seeing their home purchase as a stepping stone and, per the report, those who purchased after the COVID-19 outbreak say they plan to stay in their home a median of 10 years compared to 15 years for those who purchased in the nine months prior to the pandemic

4. More renters become owners as home purchases have surged among renters becoming homeowners;  prior to April, about 36% of home buyers were coming from the ranks of renters; since then, the percentage has jumped to 45%

5. Buyers are moving to suburbia with 57% of pandemic buyers seeking a suburban location compared to 50% of pre-pandemic buyers

6. Online searches increase as buyers are online now more than ever with 97% of home buyers using the internet to search for homes and 43% of buyers cite the first step in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale

7. Certain buying segments grow, yet the number of first-time buyers dipped this year at 31% of all home buyers, down from last year’s 33%. 18% of recent home buyers were veterans and 2% were active-duty service members, and 12% of home buyers purchased a multigenerational home, the same as last year, to take care of aging parents, because of children over the age of 18 moving back home, and for cost-savings.




7 Trends Among Sellers Since the Pandemic

1. Looking to upsize, sellers report the main reason for selling was that their home felt too small as a result of more time spent at home during pandemic stay-at-home orders and reassessment of living space

2. Feeling urgency, sellers are more likely to say they feel at least somewhat a sense of urgency to sell their home —46% compared to 39% of those who sold before April. Prior to the pandemic, 47% of sellers said they did not need to sell urgently and could wait for the right offer

3. Technology becomes more necessary as sellers who sold their home during the coronavirus outbreak were more likely to rely on technology as a marketing tool, particularly the use of virtual tours

4. Incentives haven’t disappeared, in spite of high buyer demand, incentives to attract buyers have increased in use since the pandemic began including items such as a credit toward remodeling or repairs and home warranty policies

5. Equity gains and home prices have risen since the pandemic, fueled by low inventory and rates and an increased buyer pool seeking a home that fits their new needs

6. Long-timers appear more motivated to make a move as 40% of sellers who sold after March had owned their home for 16+ years, compared to 34% of sellers who sold before April

7. Desire to live close to loved ones remains strong and is a primary motivator for sellers to move. This is the second consecutive year that moving to be nearer friends and family was a key driver for sellers and a trend that continued during the pandemic




Highlights from the NAR 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report:



As we continue to navigate through extraordinary times, the data is clear: people are on the move

Homeownership needs are evolving, companies have realized the effectiveness of working from home, and with the desirability of the Central Oregon lifestyle, we’re experiencing an extremely competitive housing market here locally with a large pool of buyers and a lack of available home inventory on the market.

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About Keeley Mannila

As the co-founder and owner of Fred Real Estate Group, Keeley is the driving force behind company culture, branding, and creative marketing strategy.